I was going to have a bit of a whine about all the little things in Android that I’m finding incredibly irritating and frustrating, but this guy nailed most of them already: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/09/18/ux-things-i-hate-about-android/. So instead I’m going to go through some of apps & widgets I like, as well as some of the ones I miss from iOS. Well, there is one major exception I wanted to mention: Bluetooth is completely broken in Android. I keep it off most of the time, only turning it on when needed to make the most of the phone’s battery. The problem is every time I turn Bluetooth on it crashes and burns, usually meaning I have to restart the phone to get it working again. Anyway, back to the apps.
I’m conscious that there are a lot of top app lists around, usually top 10’s. Most seem to consist of a couple of useful apps, a couple that appear in every single list (surely everyone has Evernote & Dropbox by now?) and a mixture of apps that either aren’t relevant to anyone other than the author or seem to be plugging the author’s own/friends apps (because why else would anyone use that app). So this is going to be me talking about the apps I like and use that I consider out of the ordinary (so no WhatsApp et al.), if it happens to coincide with what you’re after then great but I’m not going to pretend it’s a definitive list of the apps you simply must have.
Android apps I love
- Nova Launcher Prime - A replacement launcher, this may be overkill for a lot of people but I love it. Some highlights: It lets you put unread counts on apps like GMail, a la iOS. It gives much greater flexibility on the number and order of home-screens as well as number of app columns and rows. It allows you to use gestures for various tasks, for example showing/hiding the dock. It lets you change themes and icons, and so much more. It basically makes customising your Android phone easy.
- Minimalistic Text - Create your own text only widgets, it can display time, date, battery and weather information in pretty much any configuration you can think of.
- Simple Text - Create simple text based icons.
Those three combined (along with Make Your Clock, mentioned below) is what allowed me to do this with my homescreen:
Android apps that I almost love
- Make Your Clock - This is almost a brilliant app, I say almost because the clock I see in the editor doesn’t line up exactly with what’s output in the widget and it’s very very fiddly to get something just right.
Apps I miss from iOS
- n-Stream - My most used and most useful app on any platform by a considerable margin. It’s a remote control app built specifically for my hi-fi, and it works very well indeed. Unfortunately they haven’t made an Android version, and while I can regain some of the functionality via UPnP apps like BubbleUpNP they don’t even come close in terms of functionality, stability or usability.
- Tweetbot - By far and away the best Twitter client I have ever used, if anyone knows of something as good on Android please let me know.
Apps that are better on Android
- Anything made by Google - Well naturally….